In a New Public Service Announcement, Foley Reveals for the First Time his Personal Story of Caring for his Mother Following Ovarian Cancer Recurrence
WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- TESARO, Inc., an oncology-focused business within GSK, announced today that acclaimed actor Scott Foley (TV’s Felicity, Scandal and the new ABC series,Whiskey Cavalier) has joined the nationwide Not on My Watch movement to highlight the care partner’s important role in the lives of women with recurrent ovarian cancer. To underscore the importance of care partners, Foley stars in an educational Public Service Announcement (PSA) that reveals, for the first time, his personal story of caring for his mother while she lived with recurrent ovarian cancer. The Not on My Watch movement, which kicked off in October 2018 with a PSA directed by actress and ovarian cancer survivor Cobie Smulders (the Avengers films, How I Met Your Mother), seeks to empower women with recurrent ovarian cancer to take informed and proactive steps against the threat of another disease recurrence. Foley’s mother had gone through multiple recurrences for four years – with limited options available to her – before succumbing to this devastating disease.
“Being a care partner for my mother as an adolescent taught me at a young age how fragile life is. My family and I did everything to support my mom, but there were simply limited options available at the time, beyond chemotherapy. We felt so powerless just watching and waiting… and hoping that the cancer wouldn’t come back again,” said Foley, recounting his experience. “But things are different now and that’s part of the reason why I’ve joined the Not on My Watch movement. Today, women with recurrent ovarian cancer and the care partners who support them need to know that they can do more than watch and wait. There are options, one being maintenance therapies. These may help prolong time in response and delay recurrence. Still, more than half of women eligible to receive these therapies are not aware of or are not being treated with them. This has to change.”
There are approximately 222,000 women in the US living with ovarian cancer, many of whom were diagnosed when their disease was already in advanced stages.1 Nearly 85% of women with advanced ovarian cancer will see the cancer return in their lifetime.2 Once it does, it’s considered incurable.2 From there, with each recurrence, the time a woman may spend without her cancer progressing until the next recurrence gets shorter.3,4 Until recently, women with ovarian cancer who have recurred and responded to platinum-based chemotherapy had limited options, most commonly entering into a “watch and wait” or observation period until the cancer came back again.5 For women, the period of "watching and waiting" is often filled with anxiety and takes an emotional toll on them and their support network.
Not on My Watch is about empowering the ovarian cancer community, especially women with recurrent ovarian cancer and their care partners, to arm themselves with the important information they need to have informed conversations with their doctors about options that are available now, like oral maintenance therapies, which may be right for them as an alternative to “watching and waiting.”
“We’ve come such a long way in ovarian cancer treatment from when Scott’s mother was living with the disease. There have been advances to help women extend their time between recurrences,” says Dr. Amina Ahmed, MD, MS, Division Director, Gynecologic Oncology and Medical Director of Gynecologic Oncology for Rush Cancer Center at Rush University Medical Center. “If you are caring for a loved one with recurrent ovarian cancer, start a dialogue about maintenance treatment options. Let them know they can now take proactive steps in managing their disease between recurrences and encourage them to talk to their doctor. In many cases, care partners serve as the trusted voices who initiate these conversations in the office.”
The Not on My Watch movement provides useful information about recurrence and maintenance therapies for anyone touched by ovarian cancer via the website NotonMyWatch.com. The site also houses the Foley PSA and the PSA directed by Cobie Smulders. In order to spread the word, Foley will be encouraging people to visit NotonMyWatch.com and share his PSA via social media. For every share, TESARO will donate $5* to ovarian cancer patient organizations to go towards patient education and support programs.
“We are so grateful to Scott for sharing his personal story to help women understand that they can do more than 'watch and wait' for cancer to return. Scott’s experience of being a care partner for a loved one is a story that is shared by many in the ovarian cancer community,” said Mary Lynne Hedley, Ph.D., President and COO of TESARO. The Not on My Watch movement was designed to speak to everyone touched by ovarian cancer – the women who are facing it, the doctors who are treating it and the care partners who are constantly supporting their loved ones. At its core, the tenets of Not on My Watch are what propel us forward every single day, and we’ll continue to tirelessly advocate for anyone who is facing this disease so we can ideally change the ‘watch and wait’ conversation once and for all.”
*TESARO will donate $5 per PSA share from NotonMyWatch.com or Not on My Watch social channels. All donations will be made at the end of 2019.
About Ovarian Cancer
Approximately 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the US,6 and more than 65,000 women are diagnosed annually in Europe. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women.7 Despite high response rates to platinum-based chemotherapy in the second-line advanced treatment setting, approximately 85% of patients with advanced ovarian cancer will experience recurrence.2 Once ovarian cancer recurs, it’s considered incurable.2 From there, with each recurrence, the time a woman may spend without her cancer progressing until the next recurrence gets shorter.3,4
TESARO is an oncology-focused business within GSK, devoted to providing transformative therapies to people facing cancer. For more information, visit www.tesarobio.com, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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1 SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Ovarian Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/ovary.html. Accessed October 10, 2018.
2 Lorusso D, Mancini M, Di Rocco R, Fontanelli R, Raspagliesi F. The role of secondary surgery in recurrent ovarian cancer [published online August 5, 2012]. Int J Surg Oncol. 2012;2012:613980. doi:10.1155/2012/613980.
3 Hanker, L., Loibl, S., Burchardi, N., Pfisterer, J., Meier, W., Pujade-Lauraine, Harter, P. Impact of second to sixth line therapy on survival of relapsed ovarian cancer after primary taxane/platinum-based therapy [published online August 21, 2012]. Annals of Oncology, Volume 23, Issue 10, 1 October 2012, Pages 2605–2612.
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6 Cancer Facts and Figures 2018. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2018/cancer-facts-and-figures-2018.pdf. Accessed September 21, 2018.
7 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2017. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2017. Accessed January 20 2017. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2017/cancer-facts-and-figures-2017.pdf. 4